Marissa Mayer, the Google vice president with responsibiliies for Google Search and Google News, appeared today before the U.S. Senate subcommittee examining media and the particular future of newspapers.
She brought with her an easy-to-understand conceptual framework for modern journalism, and some of her approaches bear repeating. None of this will seem newsy to many, but Mayer at least staked out interesting ground in the ongoing friction between publishers and the powerful online firm.
The first lesson: Google helps people find journalism. It accounted for more than one billion page views to newspaper sites alone last month.
The second: Google AdSense helps journalism find revenue. Its activities generated $5 billion in revenue for online publishers last year.
The third and most prescriptive: The "atomic unit of consumption" is the story, not the newspaper, and the role of online media ought to be to generate topic pages with a single URL (as opposed to individual stories with unique URLs) to deepen the experience and create a living, breathing form of journalism --- a wiki, in effect.